Thursday, January 05, 2017

Trumpocalypse 11: Holidays are over, back to school.

Democratic navel-gazing continues, and that comic -- put out this week by Tom Tomorrow -- shows the actual lessons learned by Democrats so far: if you come even close to understanding that you lost an election because you gave people no reason to vote for you, retreat into Russian Hacking.

Meanwhile, Republicans are not sitting on their laurels. The ever-tightening grip the GOP has on public office is largely the result of Karl Rove's Operation REDMAP, a open 'secret' the Republicans began working on years ago, to take over local and state governments and thereby seize control of the federal government. It's worked.

And it continues to be their base of operations, like the sweep used to be for Army football.  Next up: Wisconsin's Superintendent of Public Instruction, a statewide 'nonpartisan' office that controls most of public education. Tony Evers is the current DPI head, having been in there since 2017, serving 2 four-year terms. Tony Evers is generally thought to be a liberal Democrat who strongly supports public schools and teachers' unions.

Two candidates have filed to run against Evers. They are Lowell Holtz and John Humphries.

Holtz's website has the address "" He has primarily been a teacher and principal throughout his career. His endorsers include number one-listed state senator Mary Lazich, who is retiring but not before she helped promote a bill to allow people to carry guns into schools. Lazich said the bill was to ensure that people dropping kids off at schools weren't 'accidentally' committing a crime by packin' heat on the way to 4K.  Her co-sponsor was more graphic, envisioning a world where vigilante soccer moms save an entire school:

Brooks said he was offering the bill because he would feel terrible if there were a school shooting and parents and teachers told him afterward they didn't have a chance to defend themselves because of state law. 

Apparently neither Brooks nor Lazich would 'feel terrible' if a bunch of school kids were shot because the prevalence of guns in our society makes it almost certain every nutcase out there has more than one.

Humphries has a career devoted more to the psych end of school services, as shown on his LinkedIn. Humphries' first act as a candidate was to resign his current position (intended to demonstrate that he was making a clear separation between his job and his campaign). His second act was to accept a $39,000 consulting contract to continue working at his job, only now with no direct supervision or set hours.  And you thought the GOP's effort to gut ethics watchdogs was a failure!

Both candidates are pro-voucher. School vouchers and the end of public instruction is a Republican goal, remember.  Under failed presidential candidate Scott Walker, Wisconsin has tried to lead the nation in reducing funding for schools, now spending $1,014 less per student than when Walker was elected.  Walker's last budget proposal in 2015 was planned to increase the voucher program.

The election, held in spring, is expected to be low turnout. In 2013, the last DPI election, less than 800,000 votes were cast for the DPI race, with Evers winning by 179,000 votes. Similarly, campaign contributions are typically lower than in partisan, high-profile races. Evers in his races gets contributions primarily from unions and public education associations. Evers' site claims to have 326 endorsements but you can't view who is endorsing him.

Low-turnout elections tend to favor conservatives and Republicans. Democrats, focused on the presidency and ignoring their traditional constituency, have lost ground consistently over the past 2 decades in state and local elections. My prediction is that this will be the most expensive DPI race in Wisconsin history, and that Hughes will win. Hopefully my kids' school vouchers won't get lost in the mail.


Andrew Leon said...

You know, I really don't have any words with which to respond to this at the moment.
Republicans and conservatives make my brain overheat.
Actually, it's the idiocy involved.
I mean, it's not they're not smart in a clever way, but they are so short-sighted, it makes me want to slap them.

Briane Pagel said...

The thing is, many Republicans are HURT by Republican economic policies, but don't see that. When public schools get worse and people's kids have poor educations and don't go on to college, they can't get white collar jobs. When the blue collar jobs are replaced by automation (and yes, shipped overseas) they blame Democratic economic policies, forgetting too that Republicans cut welfare, ssdi, general relief programs, job training, and unemployment benefits while also ensuring that student loans are nondischargeable.

Paul Ryan benefitted from most of the social welfare programs he spends his days trying to destroy. It's the equivalent of kicking the ladder away once you're up it.

Andrew Leon said...

Oh, yeah, I know.
In a conversation with my mom a while back about why the minimum wage hadn't gone up in so long, I blamed the Republicans. My mom said, "But I'm a Republican."
All I could say was, "That doesn't make it not true."